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Author Topic: Great Gulf Questions  (Read 1199 times)

angeloks

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Great Gulf Questions
« on: February 10, 2014, 01:38:54 PM »

Hi,

I made an attempt to reach the Great Gulf at the end of November. We started late on Saturday (3pm) and slept on the trail a bit before Spaulding Lake. We got a bit tired after loosing the trail a few times in the morning and since we had to be back in Montreal in the evening, we didn't push it. We turned around but, what a beautiful hike !

Now, I want to make another attempt. I'm wondering if people are using this trail in winter ? I don't expect the trail to be packed, but is it used now and then ? I intend to reach Spaulding Lake the first day. The next day, we'd hike up the ravine with crampons and an alpine axe, we'd go down via the Autoroad to Nelson Crag and then back to Pinkham. Has anyone done it and could share his/her experience ? I'm thinking that maybe the river froze and could be hiked. Is that realistic ?

Thanks !







« Last Edit: February 10, 2014, 01:42:00 PM by angeloks »
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wackamole

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Re: Great Gulf Questions
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2014, 10:01:29 PM »

Angeloks,

Nice pics.  In my opinion best winter access will be via the "Old Jackson Road" trail from Pinkham- It's frequently traveled, and will cross the auto road and morph into the Madison Gulf trail, which intersects with the Great Gulf trail.  It's still a long way in to Spaulding Lake and the headwall.  If you were to ascend the headwall early in the day, you'd have many more aesthetic options to return to Pinkham than the auto road/ Nelson Crag-  Think Boott Spur or the Glen Boulder trail... Just my two cents. 

Gabe
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DLottmann

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Re: Great Gulf Questions
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 11:08:04 AM »

While not an area forecasted by the Mount Washington Avalanche Center the Great Gulf has some pretty serious avalanche terrain in it. The actual hiking trail will cross multiple slide paths on the head-wall that could be problematic. You should definitely have some avalanche awareness skills, and pay close attention to the weather from MWOBS for a few days before your trip. The Great Gulf has a similar aspect/elevation to Tuckerman Ravine, so if the rating in Tuckerman is Considerable/High I would expect it to be a bit dangerous in Great Gulf.

http://www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org/

http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/summit_forecast.php

The Great Gulf is one of the largest most beautiful tracks of wilderness in the White Mountains. It truly is "wilderness" meaning you need to be 100% self-sufficient.

Also, a side note, during Spring melt-off it is quite impassible due to high rivers... would not go in there during any strong thawing cycles...
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old_school

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Re: Great Gulf Questions
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2014, 12:25:11 PM »

I believe Courtney Lea, Alan Cattabrigga and that clan shoot up air line or valley way and drop down over the other side of Madison. Don't quote me but I think that was what they said when I asked them about access. You can either drop down the Gulf Trail or Buttress Trail from there ( I think it was Buttress that gets you to or at least closer to the flow). Friends of mine tried the great gulf trail twice and got shut down both times due to deep snow and new growth.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2014, 12:31:58 PM by old_school »
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WharfRat

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Re: Great Gulf Questions
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2014, 12:33:28 PM »

I have done it the way Old School suggests above.

Very enjoyable day.
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GRH

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Re: Great Gulf Questions
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2014, 05:05:13 PM »

I have made this trip in the summer twice, traveling one day up the great gulf trail to a camp, second day up the ravine to the summit of Wash, around the horn to Adams and back down to our campsite and the third day pack out.  Never in Winter, but I will say that climb up out of the ravine is dicey in the summer with a small day pack.  Steep and no place to go if your in trouble.  Nice pixs!  Be careful.
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leaf

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Re: Great Gulf Questions
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2014, 11:34:17 AM »

Hey, This is Courtney Ley (not Lea, but very close ;) )  Depends on the time of year.  I climbed Wait Until Dark Gully in the Great Gulf in November and I approached it from the Great Gulf trailhead..  There was not a ton of snow, so the approach on the trail was easier, but negotiating in the ravine itself can be a battle.  Here's the story: http://neice.com/2013/11/the-great-gulf/

Once the snow starts flying in mid-winter, it's tough to access, but totally worth it.  Any approach would be long.  I would recommend, not going up Airline or Valley Way (not very close  ;) ) but heading up Nelson Crag or climbing a ravine in Huntington crossing over the Auto Road and then dropping down.  In Spring, this approach would be mint.

Also Gabe's approach is good two cents.
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old_school

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Re: Great Gulf Questions
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2014, 01:12:12 PM »

Hey, This is Courtney Ley (not Lea, but very close ;) )

Ugh...I knew that too!! Thank Jeff Lea!!   ;)
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Jeff

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Re: Great Gulf Questions
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2014, 08:17:15 PM »

Courtney, I had nothing to do with it--it's clearly Chris' error! ;D
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leaf

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Re: Great Gulf Questions
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2014, 09:42:12 AM »

Haha!!  Clearly...  ;)    Jeff, maybe you are the brother I never had.
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old_school

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Re: Great Gulf Questions
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2014, 09:53:10 AM »

Courtney, I had nothing to do with it--it's clearly Chris' error! ;D

Jeff is knee deep in Champaign powder right now....he can not be trusted!!!  :P ;)
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"Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes."

strandman

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Re: Great Gulf Questions
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2014, 12:17:02 PM »

 ;D ;D ;grammy- any fixed lines up there ? :-X :-X
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old_school

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Re: Great Gulf Questions
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2014, 01:23:13 PM »

;D ;D ;grammy- any fixed lines up there ? :-X :-X

No but we are adding four more bolts to Clean Sweep why do you ask John???  ::) ;D
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"Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes."

strandman

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Re: Great Gulf Questions
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2014, 03:09:33 PM »

Good, make it A1 now,,nobody climbs slab anymore  :(

I have a 30m bit of 11.2mm  about 25 years old
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angeloks

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Re: Great Gulf Questions
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2014, 12:26:51 PM »

I finally found some time to go back to the Great Gulf this week. The weather was nice at the trail head on Tuesday. Everything was nice and easy until we passed the Bluff : we started post holing at almost every step... After a few miles of that c***, we finally got on firm ground and could reach Spaulding Lake after loosing the trail a few times. Then it got kinda cold : it snowed, rained, hailed, etc... The kind of weather you'd expect from this place. We had some rye to keep us warm. We woke up at 4h30 and started up in thick fog. Using a compass, we got out of the forest and reached the bottom of that "ski slope". The snow was hard and icy. It was a great climb with a beautiful view once we got over the clouds. We reached the summit of Washington by 8h20 and started down on the Autoroad. That place is simply amazing ! I can't wait to try what Courtney has done.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pekdeche/































« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 10:20:35 AM by angeloks »
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